We’ve become used to Apple taking its own sweet time to hone and perfect its hardware masterpieces. But, one aspect of Apple’s iPhone releases that never fails to drawer criticism is the “in between” or “S” updates in between major design changes. We’ve had the iPhone 3GS, 4S and everyone who’s been following any clues and hints from “in the know” sources will be predicting a 5S this year. Essentially, each one looks identical to its predecessor but its internal components have been boosted to give us a faster and more powerful device, normally with a better camera.
One person who’s been critical of this system of semi-updates is Ken Segall, a brand consultant who has worked with Apple in the past. His thoughts are that it goes against the company’s focus on simplicity by making the naming unnecessarily complex. He had a few choice words:
“Tacking an S onto the existing model number sends a rather weak message. It says that this is our ‘off-year’ product, with only modest improvements.”
Although I understand his opinion, I don’t agree. Apple typically takes design of its products incredibly seriously. In fact, some might say that it’s as much a design company as a technology company. Jony Ive’s untouchable position as senior designer shows that much. He reports only to the CEO, no one else. So, to expect a new design every single year is ludicrous. It takes time and energy for Ive and his experienced team to come up with designs they’re happy with on all hardware. So, let’s assume that the iPhone will only get a face lift every other year.
With that being the case, naming the product isn’t that difficult. It looks exactly like the previous generation, so what can they call it? If it looks like an iPhone 5 and has boosted specs, can you call it an iPhone 6? There’s always the possibility that the chiefs could decide on a more iPad/iPod like naming system. ie. iPhone with Retina, or just “new iPhone”. I think 5S works well. After all, “S” normally stands for Speed, and if it’s faster it’ll be hunky-dorey.
Truth be told, I’m not sure the naming is that bad. After all, each generation of iPhone has sold more on its first week than any of the other previous generations put together. That crazy statistic also includes the “S” updates which prove popular.
What do you think? Is the “S” naming system weak? Or does it make complete sense?